Simple ways to improve your financial awareness and grow

By Jim Simon

Tip #1: Monitor your credit report. Most credit card issuers provide you with your FICO score on each monthly statement. While notable changes in this score month over month can be used to alert you to something shifting in your credit profile, nothing replaces a full review of your credit report on at least a quarterly basis. Examine each trade line that is reported to ensure it belongs to you and that the payment history reported reconciles with your payment records.

Tips #2: Be wary of strangers in social media arenas: Facebook (or other social media) Groups are great places to meet folks who have similar interests as your own. As a member of the Group, you want to actively participate in dynamics of the group. Most questions posed in this group are innocuous (like is the dress color blue or gold), but some seemingly harmless questions may have ulterior motives.

Questions like: “What was the name of your high school and what year did you graduate?” or “Make and model of your first car?” seem harmless enough so you readily supply the information. Unfortunately, these questions are often used as questions to help identify yourself when resetting a password to a secured site (like your online banking portal). Be cautious in what you share.

Tip #3: Pay your bills when due: To maintain or improve your credit profile, always pay your bills when due. If for some reason you are unable to do so, reach out to your creditor and let them know what is happening and when they can expect payment on your account. Most creditors are willing to work with you as best they can as long as you maintain open lines of communication with them.